Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target (1998)

ODF3 PosterIt finally gets personal for Operation Delta Force! While their first mission was a yawner against South Africans stealing UN viruses, their second had all the makings of it being the most personal mission of all! What with Captain Skip Lang’s dad being held hostage on a nuclear sub and all! But Skip himself stated explicitly that it wasn’t personal! He wasn’t concerned with his father’s safety and his father wouldn’t be concerned with his! It was the greatest un-personal mission of all! But with Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target, that all changes – for the better of course!

Delta Force is on edge! You can tell by the amount F words they use after their initial mission trying to take down drug lord Salvatore. And also by how much soul-searching is going on about the whole purpose of Delta Force.

The team doesn’t believe in the War on Drugs! This isn’t their kind of war! But Captain Skip (Jim Fitzpatrick from US Seals) tries to keep everyone together by reminding them that they will fight whatever war the guys cutting their paychecks tell them to fight!

It’s clear everyone is stressed out because the team suffers its first casualty when Lombardi is critically wounded on the mission. After three movies with these guys, they were pretty much like family to me – in that at least their names were vaguely familiar. So when Lombardi finally dies from his injuries and afterwards the team does a shot of the hard stuff while a full, untouched shot glass is left his honor, I knew that just like Sparks (X-Men Origins: Wolverine director Gavin Hood reprising his role from Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday), I may not give a rat’s ass whether drugs are legalized, but I knew that Salvatore had to freaking die!

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After Salvatore teams up with an obnoxious hacker with Jonathan Brandis hair to take control of a nuclear submarine (apparently Salvatore didn’t watch the previous installment since the exact same strategy failed and even worse, the actor who played Salvatore played one of the terrorists in the previous movie, too!), Delta Force is sent back to Colombia to finish the job that got Lombardi iced! And as far as missions go, Delta Force outdoes even their own super bad ass indestructible, totally destructive selves!

It is a mission for the ages that has the boys riding in secret on a train, only to be ambushed by throngs of bad guys! Delta Force runs atop the train, jumps from car to car, rolls here and there, shots, stabs, kicks, and blows up pretty much everything they run into! They even run into a helicopter! Funny thing though about helicopters and Delta Force. The helicopters usually come out on the short end of things!

And then Delta Force goes and turns the movie from Operation Delta Force 3 to Operation Delta Force 3 Million! Two train cars open and up rise a pair of Delta Force helicopters! “Go! Go! Go!” as Delta Force might say! And I did, right in my camouflage panties!

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And yes, it was damn greedy of me to want for more than life itself to somehow see Delta Force crash that evil helicopter straight into that speeding train! Greedy, but totally right! And to put the cherry on everything, when Salvatore looks out the window of his villa, there’s Captain Skip Lang hovering in his helicopter and he points right at Salvatore! Game. Fricking. On.

That Salvatore ultimately escapes Delta Force’s grasp following the raid on his villa is mostly irrelevant since even in temporarily failing in his mission, Skip Lang does so in spectacular fashion, falling off Salvatore’s fleeing plane and crashing into the water below, his body cartwheeling like a ragdoll in grotesque fashion. Surely every bone in his body has been shattered! Twice! Nope. He gets pulled out of the water by his team and stalks angrily down the dock none the worse for wear, snarling that he takes full responsibility for Salvatore’s escape!

The great thing about Delta’s early mission failures in these films though is that it’s all just foreplay! You know that no sooner do they get done scowling over some scumbag slithering away that HQ will dispatch them to the latest hotspot for another shot at the terrorist of the month! Next stop: the hijacked sub, USS Roosevelt!

After a vigorous interrogation in the field by the irritated Delta Force (translation – they beat the piss out of him!) and some tricky questioning tactics by the woman computer expert who is detached to Delta, the hacker gives up some computer codes used to control the sub.

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Salvatore is intent on using it fire mustard gas on major cities unless the U.S. stops using its IRIS satellite system to spy on their drug trade. Through no fault of their own though the movie pretty much comes to full stop at this point as the team is forced to fart around with attempting to diffuse bombs, entering codes and trying to steer the sub up the East River in New York, with only a minimal amount of killing terrorists thrown in to break up the monotony.

The film regains a measure of its manly awesomeness at the end though when a member of the team seemingly sacrifices himself aboard the damaged sub so that everyone else can escape. When Mac tells Skip to feed his cat and then closes and blocks the hatch behind him so that he can release the jammed coupling that’s preventing the rest of the team from escaping, but at the cost of his own life, I didn’t need any prompting from Skip and the rest of the team to start screaming “Mac! Mac! Open the damn hatch!” Is Delta Force destined to lose yet another member of the family I wish I had growing up?

Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target far and away surpasses its predecessors in every category! The team is finally emotionally engaged in what they’re doing, the stunt work is more impressive, particularly aboard the train and the sequence with the plane, and if the film relies again on the boring submarine plot and they somewhat surprisingly don’t ever actually dispose of Salvatore, the great ending involving Mac (Greg Collins who would take over the role of Skip Lang in Operation Delta Force 4: Deep Fault) in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty herself makes you forget you were dozing off whenever someone mentioned torpedo tubes or the conn! Lombardi would have been so proud of his team. Whichever brown haired guy he was.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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